1. It gives me great pleasure to be here today to officiate the opening of Technip’s new Asiaflex Products plant. This morning’s event is significant for Malaysia for several reasons, and I am honoured to be here with you.
Strengthening Malaysia’s foothold in the offshore oil and gas sector
2. Since its inception, the Malaysian oil and gas industry has grown at a remarkable pace. Today, the sector is an important segment of our national economy, with both upstream and downstream businesses contributing approximately RM 17 billion to the Malaysian economy in 2009. Over the years, Malaysia has grown from being solely a supplier of crude oil and gas to become a value-added provider of equipment and services both domestically and throughout the Asia Pacific region.
3. Recently, we have seen an increased interest in deepwater development, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. And Malaysia, I am proud to note, is already at the forefront of this movement. Already, we are an established hub in the subsea industry and soon we will become one the world’s four deepwater oil and gas hubs, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with industry leaders such as the USA, Brazil and Europe. For a relatively small country like ours, this is an achievement we can be very proud of, particularly because much of our growth in this area occurred organically through local talent and expertise, in partnership with global industry players.
4. With Asiaflex’s new presence here in Tanjung Langsat, we will now be home to the Asia-Pacific region’s very first flexible pipe manufacturing facility. This facility will further entrench our country’s leadership in the deepwater market and expand our foothold in the offshore oil and gas sector.
Reinforcing Malaysia’s potential as an Asia-Pacific hub
5. For Malaysia, the impact of Asiaflex’s launch here in Tanjung Langsat is many fold. At the macro level, the presence of companies like Technip is critical if we are to achieve our medium-term goal of becoming a high-income nation of skilled workers. The transfer of technology and job opportunities created by the plant’s opening alone will be a key contributor to boosting the rise of skilled workers in this particular region of Johor.
6. The choice of Tanjung Langsat as Asiaflex’s home is indeed a welcome addition to the growth we are already witnessing in the Iskandar Region. I hope it will encourage other investors to follow suit. The Asiaflex facility in Tanjung Langsat is Technip’s third plant in the world, joining two others in France and Brazil. This is testament to the strong interest that businesses have for this special part of Malaysia and the relatively early success we have been experiencing since the formation of the Iskandar Region.
7. An investment of the scale of this new Asiaflex plant – especially amidst lingering economic uncertainty – points to Malaysia’s inherent capacity to remain competitive at a global level. It also reinforces the unique benefits our location offers as a potential economic hub in the Asia-Pacific region. The location in Tanjung Langsat enables Asiaflex Products to serve the emerging deepwater oil and gas markets in Australia, Asia and the Middle East simultaneously. This is critical, especially given the burgeoning growth we have seen in oil fields in these regions over the last few years.
8. Beyond the obvious savings that result from lower transportation costs, having a plant in Malaysia also has advantages from a safety and environmental performance standpoint.
9. A key lesson from the recent Deep Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is that the proximity of support and ability to mobilise quickly are crucial in mitigating the potentially devastating effects of deep sea oil and gas spills. Asiaflex Product’s location will enable it to deploy equipment quickly if needed, filling a critical gap in the Asia-Pacific oil and gas sector’s disaster management supply chain.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Global investments benefiting local communities
10. Thinking instead at the micro level, the presence of Asiaflex Products here in Tanjung Langsat also plays another important function – that of an economic multiplier. By employing and training local workers, sourcing supplies from local companies, and using local services, the Asiaflex plant will help smaller local businesses to flourish. It is this ripple effect that makes international investors like Technip such valuable partners for our nation’s long-term development, where sustainable micro economies organically emerge as a result of demand creation, and spread the benefits of global commerce across a broad spectrum of people within a local community.
11. Before I close my address, I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to the Technip team on the opening of the Asiaflex Products facility. I understand that they have in fact already received their first orders, which are slated for delivery early next year – a piece of very encouraging news that I feel is an early indication of this plant’s impending success. On behalf of the Government and people of Malaysia, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to you for choosing our nation as your regional home, and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.
Wabillahitaufiq Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.